Thamesmead Town 2 Ware 1
Ware made a good start to this game with an early goal but in a hard fought though rarely pretty encounter were eventually shaded for the points.
At the end Anwar Uddin expressed himself "disappointed with the result" but recognised that his team could "learn from defeat". The precise lessons are hard to identify for the lay man. Ware had done their homework on the opposition and were confident they had identified their strengths and weaknesses but in a tight contest they weren't quite up to the examination.
Admittedly Ware were without three key players and after their bright start sometimes looked a little light weight in attack, unable to make the most of possession. With Alaa Oujdi still suspended Lithuanian Rokas Janilionis, a central defender, came in at left back and did a good job on his debut. The two sides seemed well matched and probably shared possession though each had periods when they were on top. Even so it was the home team who seemed to offer just that extra bit of bite going forward.
It hadn't been that way to start with and after four minutes a clearance from the Ware defence was poorly dealt with by their opposite numbers. Kambo Smith was past his marker in a flash and bearing down on goal with just Ollie Bowles to beat. His ground shot from just within the penalty area, placed rather than powered, was wide of the keeper and into the net. It was his first goal for the club.
Ware enjoyed a period of supremacy after that as the home side struggled against the weighty prospect of a fourth consecutive defeat. But they came back and as early as the tenth minute were beginning to exert their own pressure.
They had the ball in the net in the 18th minute but it was disallowed for a push but almost immediately were on the attack again. The ball hit Darren Behcet's right hand post and spun across the six yard area with Ellis Brown's effort to reach it in time falling short enough for his shot to be hit wide.
Thamesmead continued to search for an equaliser and got their reward seven minutes before the break. A clash of heads in the Ware box brought the referee's whistle to his lips but not for the physios to come on but for a push he had spotted by Jack Mace. Paul Vines stepped up to equalise from the spot.
The second half continue in a similar vein of thrust and counter thrust with neither manager seeking to alter things by use of substitutes, the first not occurring until 15 minutes to go. Ware's only change was even later and brought Imedd Kartita on for his club debut.
Before all that Ware looked to have conceded another penalty, this time for hand ball, until the referee's assistant was noticed flagging for offside. The reprieve lasted all of five minutes before Ellis Brown made amends for his earlier miss with a shot from distance in the 80th minute. Behcet's view was obscured by two defenders and he was further disadvantaged when the ball struck one of them. It went past him and into the net as he tried to recover.
It was now that Kartita was brought on and as the game reached its final five minutes Ware threw themselves into attack. Mace fired a good ball across the six yard box with three Ware forwards unable to stab it home, then Marcus Rose headed just over from a corner before Smith tried his luck from the edge of the area. This time it was power rather than placement and the ball went over the bar.
That was about Ware's last chance and the home side sought to run the clock down at the corner flag. Not pretty but effective.
Ware: Darren Behcet, Jack Mace, Rokas Janilionis, Murat Karagul, Marcus Rose, Lewis Soraf, Junior Appiah, Joe Reynolds, Evandro Delgado (Imedd Kartita 81mins), Dean Mason, Kambo Smith. Unused subs: Teo Borozam, Finley Long, Laurence Vaughan, Dani Ladeira.